Father: Hezekiah Bonham, Sr.
Mother: Mary Bishop
Spouse-1: Ann Stout - b: ~1704 - NJ
d: ~1738 - Hunterdon Co., NJ
m: ~1723 - Hunterdon Co., NJ
Child-1: Nehemiah, Jr. - b: ~1724 - Hunterdon Co., NJ
2: Amy or Anna or Anne - b: 18/May/1725 - Hunterdon Co., NJ
m: Benjamin Reeder
Spouse-2: Elizabeth Martin - b: 9/Jan/1709(1710) - Middlesex
m: 1740 - Hunterdon Co., NJ
2: Benjamin - b: ~1742 - NJ
d: ~1810 - Wythe Co., VA
m: Phoebe Oney - ~1766 - VA
Nehemiah Bonham was the second oldest son of Hezekiah Bonham, Sr., and his second wife. He was born, probably about 1703, in Maidenhead Township in Burlington (later Hunterdon) County, New Jersey, although it is also possible that he was born in Piscataway Township in Middlesex County. (Within this context, it is probable that his parents moved from East Jersey to West Jersey about the time of Nehemiah's birth.) Circumstantial evidence implies that Ann Stout and Nehemiah Bonham must have married about 1723, almost certainly in Hopewell Township in Hunterdon County. In support of this, it is known that in 1722 Nehemiah was assessed tax on one hundred and fifty acres in Hopewell Township, which adjoined land of Benjamin Stout, Ann's brother.1 Moreover, according to a map included by H. E. Bonham in his book on the Bonham family, this parcel probably lay about a mile to a mile and a half north northwest of the center of Hopewell village (which corresponds to the modern intersection of Greenwood Avenue and Broad Street). At present, this can be identified with a location on the east side of the Hopewell-Wertzville Road (i.e., Greenwood Avenue) a few hundred yards south of its intersection with Feather Bed Lane and near the intersection of Dunwald Lane. However, Ann and Nehemiah were apparently not married at this time because in November of that same year Ann's father, Jonathan Stout named her in his will explicitly using her maiden name. Accordingly, it is likely that they married the following year, i.e., 1723, and lived in Hopewell Township afterward. Indeed, at a town meeting held March 10, 1729 (1730 N. S.), it was recorded that Nehemiah Bonham and John Carpenter were elected constables for Hopewell Township. Unfortunately, a short time later due to faulty land titles many residents of Hopewell Township suffered the indignity of the "Coxe Affair" and lost ownership of their land to Colonel Daniel Coxe, son of one of the early proprietors of the colony. Coxe demanded that Hopewell landowners either purchase their property from him a second time or be "ejected", i.e., evicted. Naturally, because they had paid once already, they considered this a great injustice and banded together on April 22, 1731, in a solemn "Fifty Men's Compact" to sue Coxe and resist eviction. Nehemiah Bonham was one of the fifty signers of the Compact.2 However, the lawsuit against Coxe was lost, perhaps, because of his great political influence within the colony, and evictions continued. Consequently, because he would not (or could not) pay a second time, like many of his neighbors Nehemiah Bonham lost title to his land probably about 1734. Reaction to the outcome of the suit by residents of Hopewell Township was varied. It seems that some families immediately left and settled further south in Virginia and North Carolina. Others aquiesced and paid Coxe. Still others resorted to acts of revenge and violence. It is not clear if Nehemiah Bonham left Hunterdon County as a consequence of being evicted, but there is some indication that he was living in East New Jersey, probably Middlesex County, after the death of his wife, Ann, about 1738. Indeed, such a destination is plausible, since Nehemiah was very likely a Seventh Day Baptist of which and there remained a strong congregation at Piscataway, which, no doubt, included several of Nehemiah's friends and relations. Concomitantly, about 1740 Nehemiah Bonham married a second time to Elizabeth Martin. She had been born in 1710 in Piscataway Township. Nevertheless, Nehemiah Bonham was apparently living in Kingwood Township in Hunterdon County in 1754 since he and his brother, Malachiah, were witnesses to the will of George Fox. Moreover, in July of 1755 Nehemiah and his second wife, Elizabeth, were mentioned in the will of her father, Benjamin Martin, of Piscataway.3 No definite date or place of death is known for Nehemiah Bonham. Concomitantly, a number of researchers have asserted that he lived to be quite old and died in 1789 at an unknown location, but presumably in New Jersey, perhaps, Hunterdon County. Alternatively, others report that he died in Hunterdon County in 1760 or at or near Piscataway in 1762 or 1763. There seems to be no documentary support for any of these alternatives; however, earlier dates seem more likely simply because octagenarians were relatively uncommon in eighteenth century America. Moreover, it is known that the name "Nehemiah" was used several more times in younger generations of the extended Bonham family, hence, the reported late date of death is likely caused by conflation of identities between Nehemiah and a younger namesake.Source Notes and Citations:
1. Howard Eugene Bonham and Jean Allin, Bonham and Related Family Lines, Bonham Book(s), 5104 Bridlington Ln., Raleigh, NC, 27612, printed by Genie Plus, Bradenton, FL, 1996: pgs. 122-8.
"1722. Nehemiah Bonham is listed on the tax rolls of Hopewell Township, Hunterdon Co., NJ - 150 acres - adjoining the farm of Benjamin Stout, who was Anne's brother. [History by Snell, p. 185.]"
"1729/30, 10 March. Att this Town Meeting ye 10th of March 1729/30 ... elected as Constables: John Carpenter and Nehemiah Bonham."
"Nehemiah may have gone to East Jersey after the death of Anne, perhaps leaving his young children with their Stout relations. Marcy was possibly reared by her Aunt Sarah (Stout) Smith."
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2. Rev. George Hale, A History of the Old Presbyterian Congregation of "The People of Maidenhead and Hopewell", Press of Henry B. Ashmead, Philadelphia, PA, 1876: pg. 10-2.
"Whereas the subscribers whose names are hereunto affixed having purchased several considerable Tracts of land of one Thomas Revell and Agent of ye honourable Societie of West Jersey (and other the residentors therein) being part of the tract known by ye name of ye Thirty Thousand above ye falls of Delaware Lying in ye Township of Hopewell, county of Hunterdon and Western Division of New Jersey and of him received such conveyance as by virtue of the Commission of Agency in the behalf of ye Honourable Society are Deemed and esteemed in law as Effectual till a more fezable (sic - feasible) title can be made appear and whereas there is now claim laid to our severall tracts aforesaid by Colonel Cox under a pretence of being Chief Proprietor thereof whose right to us has not been made appear, Therefore not thinking ourselves not ye least obligated to surrender up our respective lands to the use of said Cox till more legall proprietorship can be made apparently by him appear we think it requesit on such a claim to stand a Tryal as ye law Tantely (sic) shall Direct. In order to which proceeding ye sd Cox by his attory has Ejected several of us from our prmisses obliging us to an Issue and we subscribers thinking it a hardship to carry on this Suit by one prticular person wherein so many is concerned we draw this instrument obliging each of us the subscribers our heirs Executors and administrators to ye each other in ye penal sum of fifTen (sic - fifteen) pounds currt money of this province to be paid by the defauter (sic - defaulter) if he stand not to and abide by evry of ye clauses abovesaid and well and truly perform this Covenant, That is to say Each of the Subscribers oblige themselves to each other in the penalty exprest equivalent to the land ye possess [he possesses] to emburse so much money towards ye carrying of this suit as the whole complement shall be found sufficient to defray the contigent charge of Trying this Title. In Testimony whereof we have hereunto set the hand this twenty Second of Aprill annogre Dominy 1731,
Isaac Herrin, Nathaniel Moore, Joseph Stout, Thomas Winder, Thomas Houghton, John Parke, Tho. Curtis, John Hixon, Jno. Parke Junr, Jno.hisXmark Hendrickson, Henry Oxley, Ralph Hunt, William Crickfield, John Titus, Roger Parke Junr, Benj. Drake, Robert Blackwell, Jonathan Furman, John Hunt, John Everitt, Thos.hisXmark Evans, Thos. Smith, Ephraim Titus, John hisXmark Reed, David Laroe, Jno. Ffield, Johh Fidler, Bartholom. Anderson, Thomas Reed, Jno. Blew (sic - Blair), George Woolsey, Jonathan Stout, Joseph Price, William Cornell, Richard Smith, James Melvin, Joseph Houghton, Ralph Smith, Elnathan Baldwin, Daniel Gano, Jose. Parke, Francis Gano, John Houghton, John Merrill, Roger Parke, Andrew Parke, Jacob Knowles, Nehemiah Bonham, Benj. Merell, Andrew Mershon."
"These cases of ejectment were all removed by a rule of the Supreme Court from the county of Hunterdon to the county of Burlington, because of the alleged prejudice in favor of the defendants in Hunterdon. A jury of twelve Quakers (with the Hon. Robert Lettice Hooper, Chief Justice) tried the case and gave their verdict for the plaintiff. Murray was the attorney for Colonel Coxe, and Kinsey the attorney for the several defendants. One of the latter, George Woolsey, carried the case (as a test case) to the Court of Errors; but it was of no avail."
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3. Abraham Van Doren Honeyman (ed), New Jersey Archives - First Series (alt. title Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Adminstrations, Etc. Vol. III: 1751-1760), New Jersey Historical Society, Trenton, NJ, The Unionist-Gazette Assoc., Printers, Somerville, NJ, 1924: Vol. 32, pg. 216.
Jul. 1, 1755. "Martin, Benjamin, of Piscataway, Middlesex Co.; will of. Sons---Benjamin, Nathanael, Peter. Daughter, Zerviah, wife of Jermiah Blackford. Grandchildren---Athanasius, James, and Luther; Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Ruben, sons of Benjamin; Mary, Isaiah and Benjamin, children of John and Hannah Blackford; Benjamin and Nehemiah, children of Nehmiah and Elizabeth Bonham; Zerviah, daughter of Zedekiah and Anna Bonham
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4. William Nelson (ed), New Jersey Archives - First Series (alt. title Calendar of New Jersey Wills. Vol. I: 1670-1730), New Jersey Historical Society, Trenton, NJ, The Press Printing and Pub. Co., Paterson, NJ, 1901: Vol. 23, pg. 445.
5. Lida Cokefair Gedney (comp.), The Town Records of Hopewell, New Jersey, pub. by New Jersey Society of the Colonial Dames of America, printed by Little and Ives, Co., New York, NY, 1931: pg. 13. (cited ibid.: pg. 126.)
6. Abraham Van Doren Honeyman (ed), New Jersey Archives - First Series (alt. title Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Adminstrations, Etc. Vol. III: 1751-1760), New Jersey Historical Society, Trenton, NJ, The Unionist-Gazette Assoc., Printers, Somerville, NJ, 1924: Vol. 32, pg. 120.
7. Samuel Jeremiah Bonham, The Bonham Family, privately published, Niles, OH, 1955: pgs. 10-11, 28.
8. Ethel Stroupe, "First Families of Jersey Settlement", Rowan County Register, Vol. 11, No. 1, Feb 1996. (Wallace L. McKeehan, "Origins of the Jersey Settlement of Rowan County, North Carolina", Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas, www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/mckstmerjersey.htm, 2003.)
9. Robert Glenn Thurtle and Lillian S. King (eds), Pedigrees of Descendants of the Colonial Clergy, pub. by Edwards Bros., Ann Arbor, MI, for The Society of the Descendants of the Colonial Clergy, Lancaster, MA, 1976: pg. 859.
10. Elmer Burt Hazie, Bonham, 1631-1973: letters, quotations, genealogical charts, military records, directory index, privately published, Los Angeles, CA, 1973: pgs. 27-30. (rev. of Emmet Lincoln Smith, Smith-Bonham, 1631-1908, privately published, Chicago, IL, 1911; also Emmet Lincoln Smith, rev. by Elmer Burt Hazie, Bonham, 1631-1959: letters, quotations, genealogical charts, illustrations, military record, directory, privately published, Los Angeles, CA, 1959 & Elmer Burt Hazie, Bonham, 1631-1975: letters, quotations, genealogical charts, military records, directory index, privately published, Los Angeles, CA, 1975.)
11. Orra Eugene Monnette, First Settlers of ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge, olde East New Jersey, 1664-1714, a period of fifty years, The Leroy Carman Press, Los Angeles, CA, 1930-35: Part 4, pg. 229.
12. Olive Barrick Rowland, Genealogical Notes of the Sutton and Rittenhouse Families of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Garrett & Massie, Pub., Richmond, VA, 1935: pg. 114.
13. Trula Fay Parks Purkey, Genealogy of William Bonham, Pioneer Settler of Grayson County, Virginia, 731 Rockbridge Rd., Trout Dale, VA, 1984: pg. 18.
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